October 20, 2014

An insider's perspective from a theatre student

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Deneh Thompson is a student studying Theatre in the School for the Contemporary Arts. Next week, Deneh will be sharing his experience as a student in the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology to local secondary school counsellors at the 2014 SFU Counsellors' Day event.

We have caught up with Deneh to find out more about his undergraduate experience, and are delighted to share it on the FCAT Blog.

How did you become a Theatre student in the School for the Contemporary Arts? What was the application process like?

SFU is the second post-secondary institution I have attended. After spending two years in Capilano University’s Acting for Stage and Screen diploma program I took a break to reassess my learning needs. It was only after working on a few theatre projects with SFU students and alumni that I decided to apply to the School for the Contemporary Arts at SFU. The thing I remember most about the application process is the audition. Auditions are always scary, but if you can manage to be yourself it will go just fine.

What has surprised you the most about being an FCAT student?

I am continually amazed by the engagement of my professors. Their engagement is not limited to the classroom. The professors in FCAT are engaged with their students, their surrounding communities, local arts, their own practices and research, and so much more.

Looking back, what advice do you wish you were given when you first came to SFU?

Know your limits. With such an engaging community it is very easy to become completely immersed, submerged even, in all the wonderful things going on around you. At some point I had to draw a line. I could only take on so much, no matter how exciting the class, project or job.

Describe your most engaged moment here at SFU.

As the president of the Theatre Student Union (TSU) I feel constantly connected to many layers of the university structure. Daily I am in meetings with students, faculty, and staff. I am involved in decisions shaping the experience of future students, and I have the responsibility to be the voice of the TSU when dealing with the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) and the university administration. It means a lot to me to be able to spend my time doing this sort of work.

What is the day-to-day life of a Contemporary Arts student like?

Wake. Read. Write. Eat. Class. Eat. Meeting. Rehearsal. Eat. Read. Avoid Homework. Sleep. Repeat.

This sounds like a terrible thing, but it means I am doing what I love all day long, everyday.

Knowing the ins-and-outs as the president of the TSU, how would you describe the student involvement between the various programs in Contemporary Arts? How about with other schools across FCAT?

The Contemporary Arts is primarily housed in one building. Our curriculum is designed to promote crossover from area to area. We are encouraged to collaborate to create our work. It really is fantastic to have Composers, Dancers, Theatre Makers, Film Makers and Visual Artist in classes and studios together. We also support each other politically and financially. There are large-scale projects being run by students across disciplines. The student unions help voice each other’s needs as often as possible.

Across the Faculty we have regular meetings of the student union presidents. In these meeting we discuss our relationship to each other and the SFSS. We are constantly trying to find ways to bring our students together. It is really incredible when these meetings manifest action across the faculty.

What is one question you wish I'd ask, and how would you answer it?

My favourite chefs knife is a 210mm Blue Carbon Gyuto Hand crafted by Masakage Yuki in Japan.